Tracy K. Lorenz ...


Well, it happened again, the politically correct morons have raised their snakey head and Kevin Hart won’t be hosting the Oscars. Years ago he made some jokes that were deemed offensive to gay people so out he goes. It doesn’t matter if he still thinks that way, if he’s grown at all, he said it once so he’s meat. (There was also no mention if the comments affected actual gay people or just people who think they know how gay people feel.)

Not surprisingly no one is clammering to be his replacement because who would want that scrutiny? Who would want the panty-waist press scowering over ever joke, every tweet, every “A friend of his told me back in high school he said...”  No one, that’s who.

Here’s the thing, every joke, every routine, has to have a victim, has to exploit the perceived weakness of some one or some thing. That’s how jokes work. “Take my wife, please” would never cut it nowadays. Let’s face it, the only people you can mock in our current climate is white guys, we can take it.

But I digress.

Years ago I was asked to host/judge a contest called “Muskegon Idol” and it was a big deal, I think the top prize was $5,000 cash which is a pretty nice chunk of loot. The thing is EVERYONE, including my editors, tried to talk me out of it because it was, basically, a 100% black event and I am less than 100% black.  I didn’t care, people are people so why should it be, that them and I would get along so awfully?

So I show up at the Fruenthal Theater and yep, I’m the white guy and when I say “the” I mean “THE.” I was it.

It was actually a very cool event. I walked out on stage and they had my name spelled out in laser lights and the crowd was, well, let me put it this way, when I got there the only request I made was that I go out first because if I went out last it would kill the buzz and I was correct. When they introduced everyone else (six rappers I’d never heard of) the place went nuts, when they introduced me it was a collective “WTF?”

I remember I didn’t have a chair I had a couch, and on that couch sitting next to me was this giant black guy, I asked if he was a judge and he said, “No, I’m your bodyguard,” and I’m thinking “If things go down there’s no WAY this guy’s taking a bullet for me.”  I also thought if things go down and there’s exactly one white guy in the sold-out building I may suddenly get more attention than I desired.

But things went very smoothly until the end. Besides me, there were six other judges, all rappers, and they would leave now and then to go outside and, um, stretch or something. They wouldn’t all leave at once, they would just get up and walk off in onesies or twosies throughout the show.

We were supposed to rate every act in three categories and at the end they’d add up all the numbers and whoever had the highest score was the winner of the five G’s. Except when the rappers kept leaving there were no numbers to add for that act so the only people really in contention were the ones who happened to be on when all seven of the judges were present, and those few acts weren't even close to the best.

So the show gets over and the head promoter comes up to me and says, “Um, we don’t have a calculator, can you add these up” and hands me this stack of scorecards. I believe there were thirty acts times seven judges cards times three numbers per card so I was basically asked to add up 630 numbers, in my head, in front of a riotous crowd waiting to hear the winner. I got done and I told the promoter, “Do NOT announce the winner until I get out of here,” and I showed him who the winner was and he said, “No way she won,” and I explained the fact that the other judges kept leaving and, technically, this girl won and I don’t want to be around when you make the announcement. “You can announce anyone you want as the winner but, on paper, this girl won.”  I then got up, waved to the crowd, walked off stage, out the back, and directly to my car.

The next day I asked the guy who was reviewing the event what happened when they announced the winner. He said everyone cheered and they all hugged her and that was that, no violence at all, and I’m thinking, “If that was a country show there’d a been gun play.” But there wasn’t so I guess the Muskegon Idol fans just had more ... heart.

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